Thursday morning, the Atlanta Falcons announced 2022 third-round pick Desmond Ridder will become the starting quarterback, replacing Marcus Mariota. Ridder will start against the New Orleans Saints on December 18th. Ridder has not taken snaps for the Falcons this season.
The Falcons currently are 5-8 and have lost four out of their last five games. Six of their eight losses were by margins less than a touchdown.
Ridder is 6’3”, 211 pounds out of the University of Cincinnati. Ridder had 3,334 passing yards and 30 touchdown passes in his final season with the Bearcats. For his career, Ridder threw for 10,239 yards and 87 touchdowns. Ridder ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds, has a 36-inch vertical leap and has great straight-line speed. With the Bearcats, Ridder was able to run bootlegs, get to the perimeter and extend plays within and outside the pocket.
As for Mariota, his season was marred by wildly inconsistent play. Mariota to this point has completed 61% of his passes, thrown for 2,219 yards and fifteen touchdowns and nine interceptions, all of which rank him in the bottom half of the league. Mariota had only three fourth quarter comebacks this season.
It became increasingly clear that Falcons head coach Arthur Smith has reached the ceiling with the talent that was utilized on the roster.
Additionally, Mariota is due $12 million in 2021 including a $3 million on the fifth day of the new league year in March.
As it stands, Atlanta would pick 10th in the 2023 NFL Draft and Ridder’s performance in the final four games of the season will go a long way to determining whether or not the Falcons will be in the market for a quarterback.